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Journey in a Town around a Room 

Installation for the birth of the MUSEO TOLOMEO


Idea and artistic direction

Fabio Fornasari 



Lucilla Boschi, Fabio Fornasari


What does the museum have to say?


Through its spaces and objects collected here and about, the Institute for the Blind Francesco Cavazza becomes a place that can tell a lot about our time ‒ the present, the past and the future ‒ and about our city. 


The project presents a story aimed at the city and has multiple objectives: to tell a story comprised of detailed plots and articulated through moments that have marked our time. This story interweaves protests, new technologies, language experimentation, as well as stories about people, starting with the story of the founder, Count Francesco Cavazza, to those of benefactors through the course of the years, of students, and of all those who, for various reasons, have known the Istituto Cavazza.


The confrontation with reality imposed a scheme of experiments leading to difficult choices that needed to be addressed early on. The library of books in hard copy, for example, was already abandoned by the end of the seventies to become a digital library in the early eighties. The Institute became a place of hardware research and development.


It is a story made of people, spaces and things, presenting a completely new reconstruction of the vision of the city of Bologna in our time.


The theme of the use of technology for writing and reading is central. As reported in the first article to appear in the scientific journal Nature, one will recall that the first analog / mechanical writing device to be conceived, the typewriter, was created for blind people. It was Pasolini's generation who started to use it as a writing instrument, the same Pier Paolo Pasolini, who, it is said, spent time on the premises of the Cavazza Institute during the thirties.


What’s to be found in the Museo Tolomeo?


The museum hall consists of a setup where can be found various objects, technological or otherwise, that have been a part of Cavazza's history, intertwined with reminiscences of the life of the city of Bologna.


An environment including an intermodal and interactive setup with environmental art, giving people the possibility of becoming absorbed into a different perspective relating to our own assumptions on the very idea of art along the story about beauty.


The museum hall provides narrative commentaries that not only are the audio description to the exhibits, but also become the support of a production telling of the objects themselves. As much for the sighted as for the visually impaired visitor, the sounds enter the space without any way to understand their origin, contributing to the creation of an analytical vision, similar to touch. It is about accompanying a visual element with an acoustic, let's say musical, element. This is to maintain an open-channel, visual and non-visual: visual and tactile / acoustic.


What is the Museo Tolomeo?


The role of preserving works of art has always been acknowledged at the museum. This quality helped build the hall that, until recently, was carrying only original works of art and that for some time now extends to the whole museum and its experience. Any museum must transpire originality which, if not present in the objects themselves, must be experienced by the visitor. Today, the important value of the museum is the visitor’s experience, who not only appreciates looking at the objects, but gets involved in the process.


Through objects, the Cavazza Institute presents some stories that are fundamental, individual and universal.

When collecting objects and pieces, the Museo Tolomeo does not only seek within its walls objects of some economic value, but goods that together, and precisely because of their joint presence, represent a unique, therefore original opportunity for storytelling, compared to other institutions in the city.


There are not only material goods, but also intangible substances: alongside works of art, portraits, collection pieces, we find stories and experiences that convey various perspectives of the long history of the city of Bologna. A place where the story of the Istituto Cavazza unfolds in an emotional narrative through the heritage of objects that were used through the years.

The story becomes a case study on issues relating to the transmission of knowledge, technological innovation, the interweaving of languages. A reason to reflect on the theme of the collection and the way it was used. The Museo Tolomeo is also the starting point for a journey with a different perspective on the city of Bologna, learning that visual and non-visual modes are actually complementary in discoverting about reality.


In collaboration with:

  • Sigismondo Boschi 
  • Angela Di Fazio 
  • Andrea Prantoni 
  • Luca Torrente



produced with the contribution of

Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna.  


Istituto dei Ciechi Francesco Cavazza
via Castiglione 71, Bologna


Per contatti:

tel. +39 - Fax: +39